After comparing several models, I concluded that the Diono Radian 3QX 4-In-1 convertible is the top car seat in its class. It’s just 17 lbs, slim to fit three across the back seat of a car, features a steel alloy frame, and can be folded like a suitcase. With all these features, you still get it at $257.

Consumer Reports says most kids go through at least two car seats before being ready for vehicle seat belts. The number goes higher if the child is short or is unfortunately involved in an accident. I have a 9-year-old son, and I’ll never take a risk with his safety. But spending a couple of thousand dollars on a new car seat every few years doesn’t make sense. It may not be an option for many parents. 

Thankfully Diono has some highly affordable, lightweight, and safe car seats. They have fulfilled my wish for my son’s affordable yet comfortable car seat. So in this blog, I will review the five best Diono car seats. 

Top 5 Diono Car Seats

07/12/2024 10:12 am GMT

Product Choosing Criteria

Since my main concern was finding affordable car seats without compromising on safety, I narrowed my search to the following criteria:

Safety rating: For obvious reasons, safety is my topmost priority when choosing a car seat. All Diono car seats have been tested to meet or exceed federal safety standards. But I also checked the customer reviews and ratings to ensure the seat met my criteria.

Weight & Size: Car seats can get heavy, especially convertible seats. And they become a nuisance when you carry them around or store them in a tight space. I wanted something lightweight yet comfortable and durable. Unfortunately, Diono has no super light convertibles, but I found some great picks in booster seats.

Price: Diono has some affordable car seats in the market. But my focus was to find the best deal without compromising on safety.

All the reviews are from my personal experience and research, including customer reviews, online ratings, talking to mothers I know, and expert advice. So let’s get started!

5 Best Diono Car Seats

1- Diono Radian 3QXT Rear & Forward Facing – Best Overall

Diono Radian 3QXT 4-in-1 Rear and Forward Facing

The Diono Radian 3QXT is a versatile and safe car seat suitable for infants and young children. It has been rigorously tested and exceeds federal safety standards with a steel frame, reinforced sides, and a five-point harness. The car seat can be used in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions, with weight limits of 50 and 65 pounds respectively, and a height limit of 112 and 57 inches. The seat is FAA approved for air travel and features adjustable headrest and plush memory foam padding for comfort. With a 10-year lifespan, the Diono Radian 3QXT is a reliable choice for families looking for a long-lasting and safe car seat.


What We Liked:
  • Supports rear-facing until 50 pounds, longer than most
  • Steel core and frame
  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Easy click installation
  • Can wash and dry covers
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The moment I took the Diono Radian 3QXT out of its packaging, I knew it was the winner. Whichever part of the case you look at, you’ll notice that it’s designed to last. The steel core frame, the rebound bar, and eight layers of side impact protection guarantee my child’s safety.

This means I won’t have to buy another car seat for my kid for the next 10 Years. It’s great for the newborn, too, because it comes with infant inserts, so even the smallest babies can travel with utmost security.

The Radian 3QXT is a mere 17 inches wide, allowing parents to fit three car seats across the back seat of their vehicle. A much-needed feature for families with multiple children. 

Also, I love the pull-release loops on the bottom latch connectors. I don’t have to twist my wrists in weird positions to release the seat.

Functionality aside, the Diono Radian 3QXT 4-in-1 Car Seat is also available in funky colors. My child loves the bright red color we chose, and I love that it pops up in the all-black interior of my car.

Pros:

  • Supports rear-facing until 50 pounds, longer than most
  • Comes with newborn inserts
  • Patent SuperLatch system for easy release
  • Foldable design for easy storage
  • Saves space because it’s compact
  • Machine washable covers

Cons:

  • Installation can be difficult

2- Diono Radian 3QX 4-In-1 – The “Grow With Your Child” Value Option

Diono Radian 3QX 4-in-1 Rear & Forward Facing Convertible Car Seat

The Diono Radian 3QX 4-in-1 baby car seat is a versatile and reliable choice for families. With four different modes, including rear-facing for infants and booster modes with and without a high-back, this car seat grows with your child. Its steel frame and reinforced sides exceed federal safety standards, providing maximum safety for your little one. The seat features plush memory foam padding, an adjustable headrest, and a five-point harness for comfort and security. With a rear-facing weight limit of 50 pounds and a forward-facing weight limit of 65 pounds, with a height limit of 57 inches, this car seat will last through your child's development. Plus, with a 10-year lifespan, the Diono Radian 3QX 4-in-1 baby car seat is a reliable and safe investment for your family.


What We Liked:
  • Comfortable and padded
  • Extra rear-facing protection
  • Folds flat for travel
  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Can fit three-across
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There is just one difference between Diono Radian 3QXT and Diono Radian 3QX – the infant inserts. It comes with three newborn inserts; newborn travel high wedge, a 2-in-1 infant positioning liner, and newborn harness sads. The 3QXT has one additional recline angle adjuster, which makes it a better option for preemies or babies too small.

This is the only difference, and if your child does not require so many newborn inserts, Radian 3QX can be a great option because it’s 40% cheaper than its higher version.

For my kid, the 3QX was enough because he was slightly bigger, and I didn’t need extra support for him.

The 3QX comes with all the features you can expect from a Diono Radian – steel core frame, eight layers of side impact protection, a foldable design, an adjustable rebound bar, and so on.

The only thing I didn’t like about the Radian 3QX is that it’s a bit on the heavier side (compared to the other four seats on the list). So if you move the seat around, it can be tricky. But don’t worry; the width is still 17 inches so it can fit nicely in three across.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and padded
  • Extra rear-facing protection
  • Folds flat for travel
  • Slim enough to fit three car seats across the vehicle back seat
  • Machine washable covers
  • Value for money

Cons:

  • Lacks some extra features like recline angle adjuster found in Radian 3QXT.

3- Diono Radian 3R All-In-One Convertible – Most Affordable

3 Seats In A Row
Diono Radian 3R, 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
$199.99 $169.99

The Diono Radian 3R is an updated version of the Radian. This one can fit three across most vehicles and has also been FAA-approved for air travel too. It’s another great seat for extended rear-facing as it can accommodate that mode up to 40 pounds.

Once your child outgrows the rear-facing mode, they can use the forward-facing harness for up to 65 pounds and the belt-positioning booster for up to 100 pounds.

What We Liked:
  • Stylish design
  • Comes in seven different color options
  • Superior LATCH technology
  • The original “3-across” seat
  • Approved for air travel
  • All-in-one seat
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07/12/2024 06:08 pm GMT

Diono Radian is the first car seat from the brand to offer compact three-car seats fitting in the back seat. It is also the most budget-friendly option in their lineup. But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s not good. On the contrary, it comes with all the features you can expect from a high-end car seat.

The Radian 3R is an all-in-one car seat but doesn’t have a newborn insert like the previous models. It can fit infants starting at 5 pounds and up to 50 pounds in the rear-facing position –a great feature for this price range. It’s also lighter than most all-in-one convertible seats on the market.

Some moms I talked to like the low sides, as the kids can see outside the car windows better. It comes with a 5-point harness, and you can also convert it into a booster seat for kids up to 120 pounds.

Pros:

  • Affordable and budget-friendly
  • Compact design, suitable for small cars
  • Low profile sides help kids see outside better
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Slim enough to fit three car seats across the vehicle’s back seat
  • Approved for air travel

Cons:

  • No newborn insert

4- Diono Monterey 4DXT Expandable Booster Seat – Best for Growing Kids

Diono Monterey 4DXT Latch, 2-in-1 High Back Booster Car Seat

The Diono Monterey 4DXT With Expandable Height baby car seat is a top-of-the-line convertible car seat designed to grow with your child. This car seat features an adjustable headrest with 11 height positions, allowing it to expand as your child grows taller. The seat also includes deep, aluminum reinforced sides for maximum protection and energy-absorbing foam to reduce the impact of a crash. With easy-to-use shoulder and lap belt guides, installation is a breeze. The car seat is FAA approved for use on airplanes, making it perfect for travel. Additionally, the seat has a weight capacity of up to 120 pounds, ensuring that it will last through your child's entire car seat stage. With superior safety features and adjustability, the Diono Monterey 4DXT is an excellent choice for parents looking for a reliable and long-lasting car seat.



What We Liked:
  • Adjustable height and width
  • Easy and safe installation
  • Bright color options
  • Sturdy and comfortable (includes armrests and cup holders)
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It’s not easy to find a genuinely expandable car seat like this one. And I don’t mean just increasing the height – though it does that too – it expands the depth and width too.

So when your kid is in that quick growth stage, you can easily adjust the seat to fit them perfectly. And when they outgrow the high-back booster, you can convert it into a backless booster.

I love the cup holder, too—it stays folded under the seat until you need it. The ventilated side wings and deep body support provide a comfortable ride for kids. And like every Diono seat, you’ll get a lot of color options too.

Overall, with the contoured style and heavy-duty construction, the Monterey 4DXT is one of the most comfortable booster seats on the market.

Pros:

  • Expandable design, which means the seat grows with your child
  • Extra ventilated to keep kids cool
  • Two foldable cup holders
  • Easy to install
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Stylish design with lots of color options

Cons:

  • Not suitable for machine drying (it is machine-washable, though)

5- Diono Everett NXT Booster – The Most Lightweight

Diono Everett NXT High Back Booster Car Seat

The Diono Everett NXT Booster baby car seat is a high-quality booster seat designed to provide the utmost safety and comfort for your child. With a weight capacity of up to 120 pounds, this seat will last through your child's entire booster seat stage. The seat features an adjustable headrest and shoulder width, ensuring a perfect fit for children of all sizes. The deep side walls are lined with energy-absorbing foam to protect your child in the event of a crash. The seat also includes easy-to-use lap and shoulder belt guides for a secure fit. The Diono Everett NXT Booster is a safe and reliable choice for parents looking for a booster seat that will last for years to come.



What We Liked:
  • Almost unbelievably light!
  • Portable, for easy swapping between vehicles
  • Ergonomic memory foam fabric to keep your child uber comfy
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Another excellent option for growing kids, the biggest selling point of this seat is its lightweight design. It’s one of the lightest booster seats on the market, which makes it perfect for travel and everyday use.

The high-back setting offers a 5-point harness, contoured sides, and deep body support for better comfort. And when you convert it into a backless booster, the seat and armrest are plush and padded.

Installation is pretty easy with the patent Latch connectors, but I love the self-buckling feature, which makes it a breeze for kids to get in and out without having to fuss with the straps every time. And, of course, its slim fit design makes it an excellent option for three across seating.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Can be carried in a backpack
  • Ergonomic memory foam fabric to keep your child comfortable
  • Easy self-buckling feature for convenient in/out access

Cons:

  • May produce a slight rattling noise while driving.

Comparison of 5 Best Diono Car Seats

 Weight RecommendationsHeight RecommendationsModesItem WeightEasy Remove CoversHeadrest Positions
Diono Radian 3QXT4-120 lbs18.1-57 inchesRear FacingForward FacingHigh-back Booster‎32 pounds12
Diono Radian 3QX 4-In-14-120 lbs18.1-57 inchesRear FacingForward FacingHigh-back Booster‎31.3 pounds12
Diono Radian 3R5-120 lbs18.1-57 inchesRear FacingForward FacingHigh-back Booster‎25.9 pounds10
Diono Monterey 4DXT40-120 lbs38.2-63 inchesHigh-back BoosterLow-back Booster‎18.3 pounds11
Diono Everett NXT40-120 lbs38.2-63 inchesForward Facing‎11.1 pounds7

Buyer’s Guide

Having spent my whole adult life shopping for car seats and testing them, I now know the most critical features to look out for. Here are the most important ones: 

Safety Features

Nothing’s more important than ensuring the car seat you choose meets all the safety standards. Check for crash test ratings, accurate labeling, and certifications from organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

All car seats must pass a 30 mph crash test to be released to the market (source). But most car seat manufacturers add features to ensure safety, like energy-absorbing foam, adjustable head support, and side impact protection.

Durability

You’ll want to avoid a seat that seems to buckle under your child’s weight or has plasticity, cheap-looking components. Look for a well-built frame, good overall construction, and an adjustable frame to accommodate your child as they grow. All these ties back into your kid’s safety, so ensure you invest in a quality car seat.

Installation & Ease of Use

Car seat safety is important, but it won’t help if you’re annoyed whenever you have to get your child in and out of the car seat. Making sure the car seat is easy to use is just as important. So look for features like LATCH systems, adjustable straps, or extended harnesses to make the process easier for you and your child. 

Ease of installation is especially important if you switch seats between cars often. Find a car seat that boasts easy buckling and unbuckling, and note how easy or difficult it is to install.

Adjustable backrests, removable headrests, and cup holders make using the car seat more manageable and comfortable.

Comfort

A comfortable seat can make all the difference in keeping your child content during a long car ride. Look for features such as head, back, and butt support. Additionally, consider material types. Soft fabrics like cotton or polyester can be great for your little one’s delicate skin.

Conclusion

Choosing a car seat for your child should never be taken lightly. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. I chose the Diono 3QXT as the best car seat on this list because it offers a great combination of safety, comfort, and affordability. However, your choice will ultimately depend upon your specific needs and preferences. Whichever car seat you choose, ensure it fits your child properly, meets all safety standards, and offers the most comfort. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Diono Car Seats Worth It?

For parents of older kids who frequently travel long distances, Diono car seats are a great choice due to their safety and comfort features. However, if your child is still rear-facing, Britax car seats may be a better option, as the Diono seats are not ideal for rear-facing mode due to their tall design.

Nonetheless, Diono car seats are easy to install, have removable and machine-washable covers, and are designed to be compact. You can easily fit three Diono car seats across the back seat of a medium-sized sedan. So Duno seats are worth it.

Are Diono Car Seats Safe?

Diono car seats have steel frames and EPS energy-absorbing foam, making them much more durable and safe than plastic shell car seats. Moreover, Diono car seats are designed to allow your child to remain in a rear-facing position longer, which is the safest for children. 

So, Diono car seats are safe and ensure that your child is well-protected while in the car. 

Are Diono Car Seats FAA Approved?

Yes, some Diono car seats, including Rainier, Olympia, Radian RXT, Radian 3R Series, Radian 3Q Series, and Monterey XP, are approved for use on aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration. Double-check with your airline beforehand to ensure your car seat is suitable for your flight.

Where Are Diono Car Seats Made?

Diono car seats are made in China, but the company is based in Seattle, Washington. 

How Long Does A Diono Car Seat Last?

The expiry date of a Diono car seat depends on the model, but most can be used for between 6 and 10 years. For example, Radian models last ten years, while Monterey XT, Cambria, Hip, and Solana models last six years.

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren